If My 5 Year Old Gets It…

On Tuesday (Election Day) Owen was curious as to what all the fuss was about. I explained that we were electing a new president for our country and he wanted to know who it would be. I explained who was running and decided to ask him who he thought it should be based on the issue I felt most people were really basing their votes on.

The economy is something I don’t feel I have all the answers to, save a few basics we’ve strayed from, but I know I don’t like the idea of redistribution of wealth and the idea that we are entitled to certain privileges and standards. I am a very blessed individual, I admit I have far more than I need, but I will not cower to anyone who says I do not have the right to do with it what I want. Even when I had little to nothing I voted the same way I did on Tuesday and if I lost everything I reserve the right to gain it back in the way I see fit.

So I posed the beliefs of the two candidates to Owen as unspun as I could. Carefully laying out Obama’s ideals for sharing what we have by allowing the government to give to poor people some of the excess of the rich. I told him that Obama believes that everyone should have a nice house and a car and food on the table. So he would like to have all the people who have more than enough give it to the government to share with the people who don’t have enough.

I then explained that McCain thinks that everyone should work hard for what they have, and if people want a nice house and a car and food on the table they should go out and work for it.

Before I could finish he quickly jumped in and said he wanted to vote for McCain. I asked him why and he said because we should work for our stuff.

I then challenged him by bringing up his cousin Grace. I mentioned that there are people who can’t work. That there are people like Grace who’s arms and legs won’t let them get a job and earn their house. I asked him who should take care of her. He of course told me that her mom and dad should take care of her. I explained that Grace would be an adult some day and her mom and dad would get too old to help her…who should take care of her then? He said that her cousins should do it…and after thinking a moment questioned whether she had any other cousins. I had to laugh. He wants to help but knows enough that he doesn’t want the full responsibility.

My favorite thing he said though was when he boiled it all down to faith. In talking about Grace he said “but mom, when Grace is an adult she won’t need us to take care of her. She won’t be in a wheelchair anymore by then.”

See…even good cousins and moms and dads aren’t the answer. It isn’t just good people left to do the good. It’s the author of good, the God who made us, who won’t allow the lilies of the field to go under dressed or the sparrow to fall unseen. God is our source, and He will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19). If we don’t have faith in that kind of God…it is hard to look at a failing economy and not cling to the words of a charismatic man with promises of a chicken in every pot. We need to do so much more than vote…we need to promote the truth. If we can bring change in the hearts of people, then change in the economy and everything else will follow.

My 5 year old gets it.

The Meanest Mom Ever

I know he thinks I’m terrible right now. I made him go to bed without lunch.

I felt mean and terrible and I second guessed it all they way to his bedroom. Hoping I would have an out to this horrible punishment I was about to dish. But nothing rescued me…not even a glimmer of apology was there to open the window for me to send him back to the table. It was sheer outrage and an offended little creature that met my eyes when I got to his room. The same reaction I had received downstairs when I first dolled out the sentence was repeated again. “I don’t want to! I don’t want to!”

I explained as calmly as I could the reason we were doing this and though he did not express any acknowledgment, I know he realized his mistake.

Each day when I pick him up from school at noon I have already made his lunch and have it waiting so that there is no time wasted upon our arrival home. He does not have to go hungry for a moment and I know what he wants everyday. Peanut Butter and Jelly are the favorite and I usually have it on a plate, covered in Saran wrap either in the fridge or at his seat at the table. Today, I made a special effort and cut the sandwich in the shape of a football. This is something he often asks for and I rarely take the time to do. You would think I would get a “thank you,” maybe even a “Wow, mom!” instead his first words were…”Why did you cut it in a football?” Followed by, “I didn’t want this…I wanted mine folded.” When I offered him milk he said, “I want juice.” None of this is too harsh until you add it to the numerous times he’s had similar reactions and join it with the warnings I’ve given on being grateful for what he’s given. Almost every meal is unsatisfactory in some way. I started to explain to him why I had given him his sandwich the way it was but quickly changed directions and in my most unemotional tone I said, “take your dirty socks off and put them in the laundry room and then go upstairs to your bedroom.” He took the socks off warily but was not yet convinced that I was actually sending him upstairs without lunch. He moved slowly and I ordered his removal again. The outburst followed and bitterly he obeyed.

He is asleep now. He will wake up hungry I am sure but I hope he also wakes up with a confidence that there is a price for ungrateful behavior. As I told him before I covered him with his quilt…if he doesn’t learn to be grateful, he will live a very unhappy life.

First Day!

Owen started school today. It is preschool and it’s half days but it is the beginning of the seemingly endless years of education. He was very excited to go this morning and was ready and out the door in no time.

I asked him what he learned and he said he didn’t learn anything. He really didn’t have much to say at all. They were only in class until 10:00 this morning as a part of their phase in process. I’m sure there will be much more to tell as the week progresses.

I’m looking forward to all the new things he’ll be doing and bringing home. I can see already that the structure of a classroom is something he feels at home in. He loves order…even if he’s not good at it himself…he loves to be a part of it.

We didn’t take pictures until we were already at the school and these are the only two I got. Ivan was excited about Owen going to school but not excited about leaving him there. He was very tired and as you can see in the following picture…he started pouting and whimpering when he realized he would not be staying with him. He just laid down on the floor in protest. No crying, just a pouty lip and a newfound closeness to the carpet. He was actually a little down the rest of the time Owen was gone. He seemed very frustrated to be without his big brother. He’ll get used to it, as will I.

I Love Aunt Jan

Owen picked up a pile of stuff I have yet to file away, some of which was from his birthday last October. He recognized one of the envelopes as being the birthday card from Aunt Jan. Jan is Kris’ aunt, for those who aren’t familiar with her, and is very good about sending cards for birthdays and other holidays and events.

As I was saying…Owen only saw a portion of the outside of the envelope and quickly announced that it was his card from Aunt Jan. Then followed that up with

“I love aunt Jan.” I didn’t respond much, mostly just waiting to hear what he might say next.

“Do you know why I love aunt Jan?”

“Why?” I cooperated.

“Because she always sends me cards.”

Wow. I was impressed. If you ever wonder if a hand written note or a simple card with a little picture or poem, in this case stickers and pictures of animals cut out of magazines, is worth the effort, just remember this post. If a four year old boy who asks for “things” non-stop appreciates it, you know there’s value in the time it takes to put a stamp on it and walk it to the mailbox.

Self Portraits

Owen has been taking pictures of himself. As you can see, he’s having a very good time of it. The camera we got him for Christmas seems to be a good purchase. He will go long stints without using it, but always comes back to it and enjoys his work. He takes a lot of pictures of things that aren’t really enjoyable to look at. A toy on the floor, the window, the leg of a chair the sort of things that you just can’t really call art, but if he can tell what it is he considers it a success. So we don’t delete those. In his words…”Keep it, I love it!”

Owen’s Prayer

Owen is always quick to volunteer to pray. Unless he’s miffed about something or nervous about who’s listening. Otherwise…always.

At dinner time he prays his own prayer but it is always the same thing. I thought I would write it down as I would hate to lose it in all the things I’ve tried to commit to memory. These things seem to get lost as the boys do new things that outshine the old. Then…later…I wish I had made more of the old and made some attempt to preserve them.

So…without further blathering, here is Owen’s dinner time prayer:

Dear God,
Thank you for the food and all the fun time and everything that’s right.
In Jesus name, Amen.

Swimming Underwater

We all went to aunt Becky’s house on Friday night and took a refreshing dip in their backyard pool. It’s a small semi-permanent pool for the kids mainly. Owen can easily stand up and get around in it without swimming but he is intrigued by the idea of swimming and sometimes even insists that he can.

Kris encouraged him to go underwater but he was quite afraid of the idea until we found a pair of goggles on the bottom of the pool. Once he put them on he was strangely excited about looking around under the water and the thought of a little water in his nose and ears wasn’t nearly as frightening.

Over and over again he dunked his little face in the drink and over and over again he came up sputtering, coughing, and his goggles full of water. It did not matter. He was enjoying himself.

On Sunday we met someone new while we were out running errands and as he got comfortable he began to tell her how he had learned to swim underwater. Granted, actual floating and swimming under or above the surface are yet to be conquered…fear however, is already checked off.

Home Improvement

Kris insists that I’m ruining our children by allowing them to watch home improvement and decorating shows with me. What can I say…they like to watch what I’m watching. The only thing that worries me is when the two home-owners aren’t exactly husband and wife. Owen has already picked up on this and announced…”they shouldn’t live together if they aren’t married.” I went ahead and changed the channel at that point. The “alternative” lifestyle is pretty popular on these shows also and will also result in a change in channel.

Kris may have a point as Owen has become quite adept at recognizing decorating terms and using them later. For instance, the other day we walked into a room and Owen said, “Mommy, I really like the color in here, it really opens up the space.” I’m not kidding.

There is one show in particular that I don’t record regularly, we just catch it now and then. It’s called “Carter Can” and after watching just a couple of episodes he is hooked on the idea of Carter Can coming to our house. He has mentioned numerous improvements he would like to see made around the house and usually follows his idea with, “Maybe we can do that when Carter Can comes.”

Here are a few of his ideas:
1. Divide the top drawer of his dresser into two separate shallow drawers one on top of the other. This way, he can hide his wallet in one drawer and put his clothes in the other.

2. Close off the living room and kitchen from one another with a big folding door. This way, we can keep the rooms separate but still get to each other if we want to.

3. Make the kitchen table bigger and get more chairs. This way, when daddy is home he doesn’t use the chair from mommy’s desk and computer. This is all with the goal of being able to sit at the desk whenever possible to play solitaire.

I am considering writing the show to let them know of the four year old fan in Nashville who thinks Carter Can can do anything.

Tandem

We have yet to buy a bike for Owen to learn to ride. I’m itching to get him one but it’s not been a practical purchase as of yet. We don’t have a place to ride at home. The busy road and sloped driveway just aren’t safe for a little guy. We do all want to go on a ride again and soon we’ll be able to get him something with training wheels so he can ride along while I walk on the greenway.

We have had our eyes on something else for him that will make it possible for us all to go as a family. On Monday night the boys and I met Kris at the Bike Peddler after work. We picked out and purchased a tandem bike attachment and a helmet for Owen. We ran a couple more errands and then got home and ate in just enough time for them to go on a quick ride. Owen. Loved. It!!! He’s been begging to go again but it didn’t work out last night, we have church tonight and tomorrow night Kris has a meeting. Possibly on Friday we’ll all be able to go on a little ride. We have the trailer for Ivan and Aron so that we can all go together. I’m sure that Kris and I will feel every inch we ride as we are a bit out of practice.